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Libraries

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps are being taken to increase the number of libraries in the United Kingdom. [61903]

Dr. Howells: It is for the 149 library authorities to make their own operational decisions about library provision within the requirements of the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act. The public library standards, including a target for the numbers of static libraries per household within an authority area, help define but do not increase those requirements.

In January 2002, my Department wrote to all English local authorities, notifying them of the arrangements for entering bids for the private finance initiative credits held by DCMS by 31 May. No library bids were received from Coventry.

18 Jun 2002 : Column 278W

Film Productions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps are being taken to attract more film productions to the United Kingdom. [61907]

Dr. Howells: The Government seek to create an economic environment in which the film industry can flourish, including through tax relief.

The British Film Commission (BFC), which is a division of the Film Council, is responsible (with the British Film Office in Los Angeles) for promoting the use of British locations, facilities and production personnel to overseas film and television producers.

It delivers its objectives by working alongside a network of regional screen agencies to provide a comprehensive and free information service to international production executives. It compiles up-to-date information on all aspects of film production in the UK. The information is disseminated through its website, various marketing materials and by holding international seminars.

Earlier this year, the BFC completed a major US marketing exercise in both Los Angeles and New York to encourage inward investment into the UK. 20 seminars were held on film financing, production and post- production. They were attended by representatives from each of the seven major Hollywood studios, as well as independent producers, lawyers and film financiers.

Recent major productions attracted to the UK by the BFC include Band of Brothers, Chocolat, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (and sequel currently in pre-production), The Mummy Returns, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and the sequel currently in production, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Asylum Accommodation Centres

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will announce the (a) names of the successful bidder for the construction of asylum accommodation centres and (b) value of each contract awarded. [59077]

Beverley Hughes: We expect to be in a position to decide who will be selected to design, build and operate the first of the trial centres after the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill receives Royal Assent.

Contracts have not yet been awarded.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 23 May, Ref 57343, when the first asylum accommodation centre will be open. [60293]

Beverley Hughes: Firm opening dates have yet to be finalised, and will depend upon such issues as planning consent, the nature of each site, and the design proposals.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the full criminal record of all those detained at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre was known to the (a) police, (b) Immigration Service and (c) contractors. [60290]

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Beverley Hughes: The full criminal record of all those detained at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre would not have been known. It must be remembered that the overseas backgrounds of individuals—including any criminal activities—will not usually be known at the time of their detention. However, where such details are known, they are passed to the removal centre contractor if they indicate that the individual poses a particular risk.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the criminal record of those admitted to the proposed asylum accommodation centre at Throckmorton will be known to (a) the police, (b) the Immigration Service and (c) the contractor. [60289]

Beverley Hughes: While there is no direct relationship between asylum seekers and criminality, for security reasons, criminal record checks will be carried out. Where such checks reveal information, which is relevant to those involved in the management of the sites or to the police, should placement occur, this will be made available.

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if accommodation centres for asylum seekers will have a statutory obligation to (a) have a child protection policy and (b) have a designated member of staff with responsibility for child protection. [59717]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 June 2002]: We are discussing accommodation centres and child protection issues with the Department of Health.

Accommodation centres will not be statutorily obliged to have a child protection policy, but we will require those operating the centres to have a policy in place and appropriate arrangements for putting it into action.

Accommodation centres will come within the ambit of the Children Act 1989. Section 47 of that Act places a duty on a local authority to investigate if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. In such circumstances, the authority has a duty to make such inquiries as they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child's welfare.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department where on Throckmorton airfield he proposes to build the asylum accommodation centre. [59274]

Beverley Hughes: The planning notification to be submitted shortly will specify the suggested location for the proposed accommodation centre at Throckmorton.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he is making to inform local communities in the area of sites proposed for asylum accommodation centres about these centres and to consult with them about their impact. [59083]

Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. member to the reply my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) gave him on 3 February 2002, Official Report, column 460W.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what formal offer has been made to QinetiQ for the purchase of land for an asylum accommodation centre at Throckmorton; what the size of such offer is; and if he will make a statement. [59370]

18 Jun 2002 : Column 280W

Beverley Hughes: Negotiations with QinetiQ are continuing, no formal offer has yet been made.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the nature of the sleeping arrangements planned for asylum accommodation centres is for (a) single men and (b) families; and if he will make a statement. [59276]

Beverley Hughes: The nature of the sleeping arrangements will depend upon design proposals submitted by bidders in response to the procurement competition within certain parameters to be established by the Home Office. Those parameters will include the stipulation that families will be accommodated separately from single people.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2002, Official Report, column 795W, Ref 57089, for what reason he does not consider it appropriate to put into the public domain details of sites which were not considered to merit detailed assessment as possible sites for asylum accommodation centres. [61262]

Beverley Hughes: We do not consider there to be any genuine public interest in disclosing sites which were dismissed at an early stage and were not subject to detailed assessment. The disclosure of information of this nature would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion in our view. We have given details of the sites where detailed assessments have been taking place and we will do likewise in future.

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his policy to permit an asylum accommodation centre to be located close to a girls' school. [61185]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 13 June 2002]: All relevant factors will be considered when decisions are taken on the location of accommodation centres.

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department is making of the suitability of Mayfield College, East Sussex, as a potential asylum accommodation centre. [61186]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 13 June 2002]: None.

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional asylum accommodation centres he estimates will be required; and what the anticipated timescale is for announcing their locations. [61188]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 13 June 2002]: On 29 October 2001, we announced our intention to provide 3,000 trial accommodation centre places. We have put into the public domain the location of all sites, which were considered to merit detailed assessment for the purpose of siting an accommodation centre and will continue to do so in the future.


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